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Old Aug 14th 2009, 12:08 PM
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Default H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

We heard lots of noise about this topic a few months ago after a small outbreak in Mexico.

Apparently the virus is spreading throughout India & Indonesia right now (as it is their traditional 'flu season' with the monsoon rains). All schools and theaters in Mombai (aka Bombay) have been closed now for a week with several thousand cases reported, though the death toll still seems rather low (20).

Now I'm reading about how authorities here are talking about 25-35% infection rates. Serious preparations are underway regarding the potential for reductions in essential services due to shortage of staff (if 25-35% of employees start calling in sick, some emergency services can't function).

This looks rather serious...

Anyone else hearing anything about this topic?

P.S. I refuse to play political correctness on the PR attempt to change the name from Swine Flue to H1N1 in order to protect the industrial pig farming industry. I say piss on them - this flu comes from intensive industrial pig farming in the first place, so I see no reason to do them any favors. Indeed, if we're honest about the name of this flu, we could do some serious damage to the industrial pig farming industry which wouldn't be a bad thing.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

Is the swine flu particularly nasty? From what I recall reading, it's on par with or less deadly than the regular flu, but it affects age demographics differently (affecting more young adults and fewer elderly/young than other kinds of flus).
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

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Originally Posted by drgoodtrips View Post
Is the swine flu particularly nasty? From what I recall reading, it's on par with or less deadly than the regular flu, but it affects age demographics differently (affecting more young adults and fewer elderly/young than other kinds of flus).
Yes, it seems to affect demographics differently. It also tends to kill as well, though I don't know how this compares directly against other flu strains.

I'd suspect that this one is expected to produce higher death rates due to the incredible amount of preparations going on about it.

Perhaps Greendruid or Lily might know something about this...
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

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Yes, it seems to affect demographics differently. It also tends to kill as well, though I don't know how this compares directly against other flu strains.

I'd suspect that this one is expected to produce higher death rates due to the incredible amount of preparations going on about it.

Perhaps Greendruid or Lily might know something about this...
The cynic in me says that preparation happens because it's new and scary. I mean, the regular flu kills a pretty staggering amount of people, but it's always greeted with a ho-hum every year.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

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The cynic in me says that preparation happens because it's new and scary. I mean, the regular flu kills a pretty staggering amount of people, but it's always greeted with a ho-hum every year.
Regular flu usually only kills ailing seniors. This flu can kill healthy people in their prime. That's a significant difference.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

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Regular flu usually only kills ailing seniors. This flu can kill healthy people in their prime. That's a significant difference.
Is that happening? When it was getting a lot of publicity back in May, I saw that the deaths attributed to it seemed to consist of very young children, seniors and the already sick.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

It also put a lot of downward pressure on the hog market due to its unfortunate name. Pork producers have been taking it on the chin for a while now, and this flu made things unnecessarily more difficult. That's about the extent of my knowledge of the subject.
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Old Aug 15th 2009, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

I was just talking to one of the members of our local DMAT chapters. DMAT is the Disaster Medical Assistance Team, part of the Dept. of Health and Human Services and its members are volunteer federal employees. They are deployed nationally to respond to disasters and mass casualties.

Anyway, John was telling me that the Team has been told to expect a 35%-40% infection rate with the Swine Flu. If true, this magnitude of infection rate will decimate the workforce, shut businesses and make it impossible to provide the level of services Americans take for granted. It will be a true disaster. The DMAT teams nationally are actively recruiting physicians, nurses and paramedics. I'm considering joining the organization.
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Old Aug 15th 2009, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

Yes, that's the kind of thing I've been reading about up here. They are making all kinds of plans to deal with massive levels of 'calling in sick' and expect this to cause critical problems for hospitals, police and fire departments just to name a couple of services. With 25-35% infection rates, that could easily mean 25% plus absenteeism at workplaces and that could really affect the efficient operation of such services.

The reports I'm reading are suggesting that such services in smaller towns are the ones going to feel the pinch the most since they have less of a 'pool' of workers to shift around to cover the shortages. Large cities have larger pools of employees and can thus 'shift' workers from one location to another if necessary to cover shortages of labor.

Likewise with smaller companies. A high absentee rate could virtually shut down a large number of businesses unable to function without a minimum level of labor. We have 30 employees - if 10 of them are off sick, the rest of us are going to have a huge problem functioning and probably would end up shutting down the production line since skilled labor is needed at every step of production and mistakes are expensive and can be dangerous.

Either way, this does look like it could be rather large and significant.
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Old Aug 15th 2009, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: H1N1 - Swine Flu Pandemic

We're already short-staffed at our hospital. We're regularly shutting down an entire assignment of 5 beds in the ER. That means the entire ER is always full with patients and there are always patients in the waiting room. We don't eat, we barely get to pee. After a 12-hour shift, we're beat up. Call-outs are already rising along with injuries. I can only imagine what will happen when the flu starts taking people out.
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